Researchers have updated guidelines around ear health and argued that manually removing earwax can be counter-productive
Dr Seth Schwartz, chair of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, says the process can inadvertently produce MORE wax, or cerumen
Additional risks include cutting the ear canal, making a hole in the eardrum, or dislocate delicate hearing bones, leading to hearing loss, dizziness and ringing
It’s often considered to be a sign of good cleanliness.
But manually removing earwax could actually damage a person’s hearing, according to new guidelines by experts in the US.
Researchers at the American Academy of Otolaryngology noted in their updated guidelines on Tuesday that inserting foreign instruments into the ear canal, such as cotton buds, can cause a variety of hearing issues and actually increase cerumen production.
Bad habits: Manually cleaning earwax has been discredited by experts at the American Academy of Otolaryngology
In addition, manually cleaning the ears also increases the chances of piercing the eardrum, dislocating delicate bones and causing infection.
Furthermore, there’s an added danger of impaction, which blocks the ear canal and can lead to pain, itching, feeling of fullness, ringing or tinnitus, hearing loss or a discharge or an unpleasant odour.
Dr Seth Schwartz, chair of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, said: “Patients often think that they are preventing earwax from building up by cleaning out their ears with cotton swabs, paper clips, ear candles, or any number of unimaginable things that people put in their ears.
“Anything that fits in the ear could cause serious harm to the ear drum and canal with the potential for temporary or even permanent damage.”
He also asserted that, contrary to popular belief, the ear is self-cleaning.
Self-cleaning: Chewing, jaw motion, and growing skin in the ear canal help to move old earwax from inside the ears
“There is an inclination for people to want to clean their ears because they believe earwax is an indication of uncleanliness. This misinformation leads to unsafe ear health habits.”
He added earwax or cerumen was a normal substance the body produces to clean, protect and ‘oil’ ears. It acts as a self-cleaning agent to keep ears healthy by trapping dirt, dust, and other small matter to the sticky earwax which keeps them from getting farther into the ear.
There is an inclination for people to want to clean their ears because they believe earwax is an indication of uncleanliness. This misinformation leads to unsafe ear health habits. Dr Seth Schwartz
Chewing, jaw motion, and growing skin in the ear canal help to move old earwax from inside the ears to the ear opening where it then flakes off or is washed off during bathing.
And this normal process of making wax and pushing the old wax out is continual.
It’s only occasionally that this cleaning process breaks down, creating a build-up of wax which collect and blocks the ear canal. This affects one in 10 children, one in 20 adults, and more than one-third of geriatrics.
It should be treated by a medical practitioner with irrigation, syringing or the application of wax-softening agents known as cerumenolytics, such as Sodium Bicarbonate ear drops BP, olive oil, distilled water and acetone.
Source: Daily Mail
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Published at Wed, 04 Jan 2017 09:38:53 +0000